It’s happening. The day I hoped would never come. The transition has begun.
I’m losing my ‘cool’ in the eyes of my daughter. Less than weeks from her turning the ripe old age of six, I’ve begun to see the signs.
Before I expand on the ‘Mommy really!?!’ topic, I still have my moments of ‘cool’ which she brags about. I work for the only newspaper she knows of and my picture happens to appear in it weekly that’s cool. I run and I’m fast (in her eyes) that’s cool. I’ve earned a few race medals which I allow her to prance around the house in that’s cool. Oh, and I have Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber in my play list… need I say more.
Aside from bopping to Top 40 hits or Kids Bop on the way to school, my daughter is assertive in reminding me of my ‘place’ as mommy. I’ve shared before in this space our heartbreaking similarities, so to say I’m shocked by this would be a misrepresentation of both of us.
I knew this day would come, I just didn’t expect it until say, fourth grade or so. After all, her brother still holds my hand when we walk through a parking lot or crosses a street. He’s almost nine.
The first ‘losing cool’ signs reared its ugly head at Valentine’s Day, of all days.
My daughter’s school had hosted a ‘Father Daughter Dance.’ Since her father lives out of state, she was fortunate enough to be escorted to the event by her mommy. She actually wanted me to go. She had no desire to have an uncle or her grandfather ‘fill in.’ She liked the idea of a ‘date night’ with mommy.
And so it was.
I was thrilled to join her and admittedly, a bit apprehensive. She was only five after all and we would most certainly be the minority among the other couples. But as with seemingly everything in my children’s lives, I was worried for nothing.
With our hair done, lips glossed and party dresses on we took to the dance floor and did our thing. It is a moment I will not soon forget, as I watched the joy of this amazing little person who has the confidence of a lion.
Before long all the little friends found one another and just like a high school dance or bachelorette party, all the little girls began dancing together. We were all having a great time and then it happened … the plea.
As the girls continued to dance my daughter turned to me and asked me to sit down. Naturally I protested as first, reassuring her that her friends really liked me. They thought I was fun. Then with hands clasped together and placed in front of her face she said it, “Pleeaasseee mommy!”
Respectfully I retreated and quickly texted my heartbreak to a girlfriend. She counseled me via text and I dutifully sat among the dads waiting in my place as chauffeur.
Since then my lack of cool creeps in on occasion as she gives me the look. Yes, the look. I’m pretty certain all parents know this ‘look’ and depending on the circumstances more times than not, we accept it. I’m learning that there are times when I just must accept my role as parent in her world.
How I see it, it’s only fair and indeed another piece to the circle of life. I once did the same to my own mother and yes, my friends loved her and thought she was ‘cool.’ As for me, well … not so much until of course I became older and had the presence of mind to reflect back.
In short, I’m learning to accept it’s just simply part of the job.
I tell my children often that my role is not to be their ‘friend.’ My role is to be their parent, their guide, their teacher. Someday when they grow older, begin paying their way through life and making their own decisions … now, then if we should happen to be friends that is a bonus.
Loosely by definition the word parent is described as “a guardian, a protector, one who begets or nurtures and raises a child.” The word ‘friend’ appears nowhere in the definition.
The irony is when disciplining and guiding my children this fact does not bother me one bit. When begged to sit however, it is indeed a bit hard to swallow. But, just as they are ... I’m learning and slowly my skin is getting a little thicker and my shoulders just a bit stronger.
Teresa Hammond is circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.